Tag Archives: Kendrick Lamar

Award Shows and Politics

And now my update ratio has become twice a year. Oh well, it’s still here. I should have posted this Monday but I had to turn it in for a class on Tuesday, and well – I really just wanted to see if it sucked before it went on the internet. Also, I can’t quite get the pictures to work cause wordpress has been hella sucky lately. Deal with it.

John Lennon, Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga. These three artists have something in common — and it isn’t a Grammy win. So what is it then?

The answer isn’t surprising. It’s politics.

The 58th Annual Grammy Awards held at the Staples Center. As seen on CBS.
Kendrick Lamar’s 2016 Grammy Performance

From The anti-war Beatles era, to Lamar’s tense performance in chains at last year’s awards, to Lady Gaga’s support of the LGBTQ community, music has always been a major platform for political movements. The 59th Annual Grammy Awards were no exception.

While many were expecting a politically charged atmosphere, audiences were unsure of just how that might manifest itself. In the past, the Grammys have kept their politics internal. Like every award show, they’ve had their shining political moments, including Lamar’s performance and Mackelmore’s mass marriage ceremony, among others, but the politics surrounding the Grammy’s tend to revolve around who gets snubbed, who isn’t showing, and Taylor and Kanye’s latest feud.

Katy Perry dresses in a pantsuit to keep her message subtle.

But, despite controversy surrounding celebrities sharing their political opinions, presenters, performers and winners alike didn’t back down Sunday night. The evening began with host James Corden’s first jokes about Trump and continued with cries for unity and love from award recipients and presenters. Comments were made about the Dakota Access Pipeline protest and Gavin Grimm’s Supreme Court hearing, and Katy Perry donned a sparkly pink “Persist” arm band in support of Senator Elizabeth Warren during her performance.

But Katy’s politics — which involved lyrics about rose-colored glasses and a projection of the U.S. Constitution — were muted by A Tribe Called Quest’s performance with Anderson .Paak. By far the most outspoken and aggressive, Busta Rhymes called out “President Agent Orange,” and the group literally burst through a wall on stage during their performance.

A Tribe Called Quest and Anderson .Paak performed with Busta Rhymes in the most political performance of the night.

Generally speaking, though, the Grammys kept it tame. Very few names were dropped, and instead the messages tended to center around peace, love and unity. The positivity was refreshing after such a negative election cycle.

Sunday’s Grammys were no exception to scrutiny by those who think celebrities should keep their opinions to themselves, but music is such an important tool to inspire change. The message was clear: Avoiding politics has become impossible. In this election cycle, musicians especially were outspoken about their views on the Trump administration. Even republican-registered Steven Tyler threatened to sue The Donald for playing Aerosmith’s famous hit “Dream On” on the campaign trail. If the Grammys had glazed past the political turmoil that the artists have already been outspoken about, it would have been a blatant slap in the face to the fans these artists have inspired.

Instead of focusing on whether or not the Grammys were too political or not political enough, shouldn’t the question be whether or not the message was effective? Will the award show embrace it? Or will next years night of musical recognition sweep it all under the rug?

This year’s Grammy Awards were perhaps some of the most political yet. It was subtle, but it was clear. Artists are done avoiding what’s important to them, and after this year, the Grammys might be forced to quit playing it safe.


We Need To Talk About The Grammys

I feel like this post is obligatory, given the weight of the award show that took place last night. As always, I had some major problems with the award show, but if you kept up with my live tweeting (@notreallyindie — I know you didn’t), you know that overall I was actually very pleased with the show.

So let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Holy sh**: Kendrick Lamar. I will be the first to admit that I don’t listen to Kendrick Lamar on a regular basis. Hell, I don’t listen to rap on a regular basis. But Kendrick Lamar has unmistakeable talent that even someone who lives under a rock could recognize.

That’s why I was so happy when he took home the Grammy for Best Rap Album. It’s why I felt a new faith in the award itself when he won Best Rap Song for “Alright.” It’s why he definitely deserved to win for Best Rap Performance. And it’s why I was fully expecting him to take home Album of the Year. Especially after that performance.

For those of you who didn’t see it, it was FIRE. Literally, there was fire on the stage. But the fire wasn’t the most important part. Maybe it was the way he came out on stage — in chains — that made the biggest statement. Maybe it was the way his spoken-word-influenced track “The Blacker The Berry” flew from his lips. Maybe it was the bonfire that raged behind him. Maybe it was the word “COMPTON,” written in black text against the blank continent of Africa. His message wasn’t easily missed.



So. Can someone PLEASE explain to me why he lost to Taylor Swift? Nothing about The Grammys has pissed me off more. I thought I was mad when they cut off Queens of the Stone Age at the 56th Awards, but this takes the cake.

Those of you who know me know exactly how I feel about T-Swift. I don’t exactly try to hide my feelings about her. But I don’t think my opinion would be different if I loved her. 1989 just didn’t deserve Album of the Year. It wasn’t even close to being the best album in the category. Not against Chris Stapleton, not against Alabama Shakes, and definitely not against Kendrick Lamar.

And as much as I loved her dig against Kanye (though she seemed a little self-righteous when she accepted the award, in my opinion), I maintain my hope that one day just being Taylor Swift won’t be enough for Taylor Swift anymore.

Kendrick Lamar wasn’t the only one who got snubbed either. As far as Best New Artist, well — it was a loaded category to say the least. I really think Cmeghan-trainor-could-barely-get-through-her-best-new-artist-acceptance-speechourtney Barnett should have taken it, but I don’t feel as offended with Meghan Trainor’s win as I do Swift’s. Trainor does have talent, and her acceptance “speech” made me cry (I’m a sympathetic cryer, what can I say?).

Now, as far as the things The Grammys did right, well, even I’ll admit there were a few. Lady Gaga’s performance, for one. Between the Oscars last year, the national anthem last week, and now her David Bowie tribute, we know that we can expect something from Gaga. And it’s going to be big. No one can deny she’s talented anymore and she no longer needs to show up to award shows in an egg. The Bowie Medley was perfect for her, and her work ethic and dedication to the music really showed last night.

The 58th GRAMMY Awards - Show
LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 15: Recording artist Lady Gaga performs onstage during The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/WireImage)

Brittany Howard also killed it when Alabama Shakes performed their Grammy-winning “Don’t Wanna Fight.” The category for best rock song was absolutely packed, but I can’t help get the warm fuzzies when I think of their win. I’ve been with them from the beginning, after all. And “Thunderbitch” proved that rock isn’t dead when she screeched into her microphone — something I’m sure gave the audience chills.

Christ Stapleton also had a successful night, picking up two Grammys. He deserved both, if not more. It’s nice to see a great artist like him emerge. I really think he’s bringing country back to where it should be.

Some other highlights? Well, Skrillex plays guitar like a badass and so does Johnny Depp, and Adele still made everyone cry despite the major sound issues during her performance. Also, she is so classy. I love how she took the moment after her performance to shoutout to Kendrick. I bet she thinks he got snubbed too.

So, what are your thoughts on The Grammys? What were your favorite moments? Share here, Facebook, or Twitter! I’d love to know everyone’s opinions on Album of the Year. I mean, I can’t be the only one who’s mad about this, right?